AXA Private Equity To Buy Novacap from Bain Capital

AXA Private Equity SA agreed to acquire a majority stake in Novacap SAS in a transaction that puts the Lyon, France-based chemicals company’s enterprise value at about EUR240 million. The seller is Boston, Mass.-based Bain Capital LLC. The transaction has the support of Novacap’s management team, which is headed by CEO Pierre Luzeau.

AXA Private Equity, the leading European diversified private equity firm, has signed an agreement with Bain Capital to acquire a majority stake in the chemicals group Novacap for an enterprise value of approximately EUR 240 million, with the support of Novacap’s existing management team, headed by its CEO Pierre Luzeau.

This is the latest in a series of transactions in the chemicals industry for AXA Private Equity and follows the acquisition and then exit of Eliokem (France). The firm also has CABB (Germany) and Unipex (France-Canada) in its current portfolio.

Novacap is a diversified group headquartered in Lyon (France), producing and selling mineral and organic chemical products, with a turnover of ca. EUR 470 million in 2010. It employs around 470 people across its industrial units. Novacap markets its products in a diverse range of industry sectors, including beverage glass packaging, flat glass, chemical and energy, pharmaceuticals, environment (flue gas & water treatment), animal feed, detergent, automotive and construction.

Novacap was created in January 2003 when Bain Capital completed a carve-out from Rhodia of some of its intermediate chemicals and industrial mining activities. Under Bain Capital’s ownership, Novacap has increased its sales while remaining resilient through the economic crisis. Since 2009, Novacap has accelerated its diversification in high value-added areas and has invested ca. EUR 30 million in new operating units to support these growth projects.

Thibault Basquin, Director at AXA Private Equity, said: “We will give Novacap the committed support that embodies AXA Private Equity’s reputation. Our intention is to assist the company in developing new applications and implementing an active build-up strategy within complementary activities, notably relying on management’s expertise to carve-out businesses from industrial corporates”.

Pierre Luzeau, CEO of Novacap, said: “We are very happy to welcome AXA Private Equity as a majority shareholder of Novacap. The firm has demonstrated a strong knowledge of our businesses and a real interest in our development projects. I am convinced that AXA Private Equity is the right partner to bring us the required resources to grow organically and externally through acquisitions”.

Walid Sarkis, Managing Director at Bain Capital said: “We are privileged to have led the creation of Novacap in partnership with its management team and Rhodia. The company has successfully established itself as an independent chemical business. Over the past 8 years, it has strengthened its competitive positions and grown into new products. It provides today a solid platform for further development”.

BNP Paribas, HSBC and Société Générale Corporate & Investment Banking (SG CIB) acted as “Mandated Lead Arrangers and Bookrunners” to arrange and underwrite senior credit facilities for the acquisition.

The acquisition is subject to approval by the European antitrust authorities as well as other required governmental authorisations.


AXA Private Equity is a leading private equity firm with US$25 billion in managed assets and a global reach extending across Europe, North America and Asia. The firm offers investors the full spectrum of private equity services for every market segment: direct funds, infrastructure financing, mid cap and small cap buyouts, venture capital, co-investments, fund of funds as well as mezzanine financing. With offices in Paris, Frankfurt, London, New York, Singapore, Milan, Zurich and Vienna, AXA Private Equity supports the development and long-term growth of its portfolio companies with sustainable growth strategies and by granting them access to the AXA international network. AXA Private Equity has earned the trust of its investors by regularly supplying them with transparent performance data on its funds and portfolio companies.

AXA Private Equity, Global Investments the European way

Novacap is a diversified European chemical group which enjoys leading positions in its markets. Novacap is organised around three independent business units (Novacarb, Novapex and Novacid). Novacarb produces inorganic chemical products and sells mainly soda ash, sodium bicarbonate and sodium sulphate. Novapex produces organic chemical products and sells mainly phenol, oxygenated solvents (like isopropyl alcohol IPA) and derivatives. Novacid distributes hydrochloric acid and produces calcium chloride as well as ferric chloride soon through a joint venture with Feralco. At the end of 2010, Novacap operated five industrial units located in La Madeleine and Pagny-sur-Meuse (Nancy), Roussillon (Lyon), Grand-Serre and Pont-de-Claix (Grenoble), and employed ca. 470 people. Novacap is headquartered in Lyon (France).

Bain Capital, LLC ( is a global private investment firm that manages several pools of capital, including private equity, venture capital, public equity, credit products and absolute return, with approximately $65 billion in assets under management. Since its inception in 1984, the firm has made private equity investments and add-on acquisitions in more than 300 companies worldwide. Bain Capital has a distinctly people-intensive, value-added approach to investing, with a strong emphasis on supporting management teams to drive strategic and operating improvements. Bain Capital Europe, the firm’s European private equity affiliate, has been investing with the same philosophy since 1989. Bain Capital chemicals private equity investments have included such leading businesses as Brenntag, Styron, Innophos, Feixiang Chemicals and IMCD. Bain Capital has offices in Boston, London, Munich, Chicago, New York, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Shanghai and Tokyo.

AXA Private Equity US contact
The Neibart Group
Emma Murphy
Tel: +1 718 875 4545
Pierre Luzeau
Tel: +33 4 26 99 18 15